Erik ten Hag will be looking to kickstart his Manchester United career with a positive result when they welcome Brighton & Hove Albion to Old Trafford on Sunday.
Manchester United will be looking to break into the top four this season after they finished last campaign in sixth place following their 1-0 defeat to Crystal Palace on the final day of last season at Selhurst Park.
The Red Devils began their pre-season tour with two comfortable victories over the likes of Melbourne Victory and Crystal Palace before playing out to a four-goal thriller against Aston Villa, however, their three-match unbeaten run came to an end when they lost to Atletico Madrid before being held by Rayo Vallecano in their final match.
Brighton managed to secure a top 10 finish in the league last season after they placed ninth in the standings after they cruised to a comfortable 3-1 victory at home to West Ham United on the final day.
The Seagulls had a more successful pre-season campaign as they only suffered one defeat against Brentford but they earned a goalless draw against Union Saint-Gilloise while claiming wins over Estoril, Reading and Espanyol, respectively.
New United boss Erik ten Hag says: “I think we [have had] a good pre-season. We make good progress. We are ready for the season. I know there is still room for improvement. We have to improve and that is also a process that continues during the season. But, [for Brighton], it’s about the result as well.
“It was a mixture between experience and youth [against Vallecano]. Some guys, they need to see for the first time, what you can expect.
“You saw the attitude was really great, really the intention to co-operate. They fight and work for each other. That was positive. We create also a lot of chances and also conceded some chances. Overall, we have to be satisfied with this performance.”
In head-to-head results last season, Man Utd managed to draw first blood by clinching a 2-0 win at Old Trafford thanks to goals from Cristiano Ronaldo and Bruno Fernandes, but Brighton took their revenge in the return leg by claiming a 4-0 victory at the Amex Stadium through goals from Moisés Caicedo, Marc Cucurella, Pascal Gross and Leandro Trossard.
Ten Hag could be boosted by the potential return of Jadon Sancho and Luke Shaw, who both suffered from illness during pre-season, while youngster Facundo Pellistri remains doubtful after sustaining an injury against Atletico Madrid.
Brighton will be without the services of two players including Poland international Jakub Moder, who continues his road to recovery from a cruciate injury, while left-back Marc Cucurella may not be available after it was claimed that he is due to move to Chelsea.
Man Utd’s new signing Christian Eriksen will be keen to continue his form in the league after all five of his goal contributions for Brentford last season were in victories, with four of them in games featuring over 2.5 goals.
Brighton’s Pascal Gross will be the favourite to score against United after he netted in all three of Brighton’s previous victories over the Red Devils.
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